2 Samuel 1: 1 – 4,11-12,17,19,23 -27
Mark 3: 20 -21


Not  Understood

Thomas Bracken is a well-known poet and the author of New Zealand’s national anthem. He wrote a poem that even though it was written in the Victorian age, still has a timeless quality.

Let me quote just parts of the poem here:-

Not understood, we move along asunder,

Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep

Along the years, we marvel and we wonder

Why life is life, and then we fall asleep

Not understood.

Not understood, we gather false impressions

And hug them closer as the years go by

Till virtues often seem to us transgressions

And thus we rise and fall, and live and die

Not understood.

It seems to me that while many of the ordinary people in Israel at the time of Jesus hung on his words and marvelled at his ‘signs’ or healings, yet there were those who were affronted and misunderstood him, his divine origin and his mission.

It appears that even his wider family members did not understand or believe in Jesus. So:  ‘Then he went home, and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ’He has gone out of his mind.’ (Mk. 3:20 -21)

We are reminded of the Prologue of St. John’s gospel:

‘He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:11-12)

The conclusion of Bracken’s poem is worth quoting too:-

           ‘O God, that men would see a little clearer,

            Or judge less harshly when they cannot see!

            O God, that men would draw a little nearer

            To one another, – and they’d be nearer Thee

            And understood. ‘

Let us learn to see beneath the words of our children, and our contemporaries to “draw a little nearer to one another.” Jesus is among us and we find him in our mates, our family members and even in the ones we find difficult to understand.

Pat McIndoe CP, a Passionist at St. Gabriel’s Retreat, Boroko, Port Moresby